After nearly % decades on this earth, I’ve finally found my calling in life. I’m going to be a brick mason.
Not buying it? Yeah, me neither.
The S-man did all the master work. I just tried to follow orders without breaking a fingernail. I broke two.
First, we had to build the form for the cement border. And by we I mean he. But I did dig a little dirt out, and I did transport the blocks of grass we removed to another part of the yard, where the grass was sparse. That’s something, right?
Then we mixed and poured the cement into the form. (Let’s just assume from now on that “we” means “he” and “I” means “we.”) I did stand next to the form with a shovel and helped scrape the cement from the wheelbarrow. And I fluttered my eyelashes at Superman each time he brought a new delivery. Very important job, that fluttering.
After the concrete dried, we removed the forms and poured sand into the patio portion. Next we leveled the sand, and put stakes throughout the area, so the S-man could measure the height with this handy-dandy tool called a transit. I’m not sure what it does, exactly, but it involved me standing at each stake with a tall measuring stick while he looked through a little camera-looking thingie. It felt very much like he was taking my photograph, so I smiled and struck a new pose at each stake.
Then we poured about four kazillion more bags of sand, followed by a layer of masonry gravel. It was finally time to start laying the bricks.
We started in the middle, with a nifty little zigzag pattern. I mean, Superman started in the middle, while I hauled bricks in the wheelbarrow. And this time I means I. What’s up with that?
One at a time, the S-man tapped the brick into place, checked it with the level, removed it, added a little more gravel or took some away, and replaced the brick. One at a stinkin’ time. More often than not, he had to add gravel. Lots of it.
Pretty soon we realized the entire area was still too low. We could buy more bags of gold masonry gravel, or scrape it up and add more sand. Our budget told us to add more sand.
So we each got a shovel, and scoop by blasted scoop we scraped up all the gravel and tried not to mix it with the sand beneath. Once it was all up, we added another kingdom full of sand. Then, we replaced the gravel.
Somehow, I got stuck with the job of tamping it down, and my arms and shoulders got a serious workout. I’m thinking of competing in the next women’s bodybuilding contest. Except that might not be fair to the other girls, since they probably aren’t brick masons like me.
Finally, the ground level was where it needed to be and we began laying brick again. But that was just the stuff in the middle. Our patio is rounded, so once we got to the edges we had to rent a brick cutter and slice the bricks into angles that would fit together. It’s a very complex task, so I let Superman practice his math skills on that one.
After laying all the brick, I thought we were done. Nope. Not even close. Now we had to pour more of the masonry gravel on top and sweep-sweep-sweep it into the cracks. Then we’d tamp it down again, and all the gravel would disappear to who-knows-where and we’d sweep-sweep-sweep some more. Somehow I ended up with this job too. I’m telling you, my arm muscles are sore. They hurt. And they’re now bigger than the Hulk’s.
I am She-Ra, Princess of Power.
About a year two hours later, the S-man pronounced the project finished. We moved our furniture onto it, and voila. I now have a fancy-schmancy breakfast patio, complete with shade trees and chirping birds. It is beautiful.
But it sure was a lot of work. It would have been easier to just slap some bricks down in the grass and call it done. But then they would have been wobbly. Grass would have grown up through them. And it would have looked ugly.
Too often, I want to take the easy way in my life. Sure, I want the end results to be attractive and functional, but I don’t want to put the work in to make it that way. I’d rather just slap some decisions down and call it done.
But the Master Builder wants more for me. He wants the foundation of my life to be level and sturdy. He wants the end result to be beautiful. And He wants to make me stronger in the process.
Sometimes, doing things God’s way causes temporary aches and pains. Sometimes I have to go back, scoop up my mistakes, and start over. But if I take my time and allow God to create my life the way we created that patio, using wisdom and patience and a lot of hard work, I’ll end up with something that will last.
“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything,” James 1:4 niv.